The Morning Fix: Ferrell, with Wahlberg, takes back box office! Will Hollywood embrace new Miramax? Digital dollars starting to flow.


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After the coffee. Before wondering once again about the logic of such short windows between theatrical and DVD releases.

‘The Other Guys’ finish on top. ‘The Other Guys,’ the cop buddy movie starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg from Sony Pictures dethroned ‘Inception’ at the box office this weekend. The comedy pulled in $35.6 million and put to ease any concerns over Ferrell’s box-office prowess after the disaster that was ‘Land of the Lost.’ There’s still enough intrigue about ‘Inception’ to drive the Warner Bros. movie to second place with $18.6 million, but apparently ‘Step Up 3D’ didn’t make anyone want to dance, as it took in only $15.5 million in its first weekend. Box-office analysis from the Los Angeles Times, Hot Blog and Variety.


Doors will be open, but who’ll line up? Ron Tutor, the construction magnate who is buying Miramax, still has a ways to go before closing his roughly $660-million deal with Disney. But questions are already being raised about whether there’ll be a rush of business for Miramax. Like a shark chasing blood in the water, Hollywood loves to chase new money. In this case, the relationship between Tutor and David Bergstein, who has had some issues with the production company (understatement of the day) may make some wary. The Hollywood Reporter takes a look at what the word on the street is regarding the new Miramax.

Watching the big screen. The Wall Street Journal previews Walt Disney Co.’s results on Tuesday and notes that it should be a big one for the movie unit thanks to ‘Toy Story 3,’ ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Iron Man 2.’ Yes, but since all those movies were old regime releases and not from new studio chief Rich Ross, does that really tell anyone anything about the unit momentum and future releases? More interesting will be the results at ABC, both in terms of the shape of the advertising market and the strength of the network versus its rivals. Prediction: Cable will again carry the day for Mouse House.

CBS Films finds mechanic. On the CBS earnings call last week, Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said CBS Films would also be in the acquisition market, and already a deal has been struck. Deadline Hollywood reports that CBS has acquired ‘The Mechanic,’ which is Jason Statham’s remake of the Charles Bronson classic. I want to hold on to the hair I’ve got, but if I do lose it, I hope I can look half as cool as Statham. Yes, I have a man crush, so shoot me.

Digital dollars. The advertising model for Web content still isn’t fully developed, but some new money is flowing back into production, according to the New York Times. As writer Brian Stelter notes, the big boys of Web video get millions of views a month and almost 90% watch at least one video online a month. Ad revenue is starting to improve a little as the NYT reports that ‘commercials in front of professionally produced entertainment videos can command $15 to $35 per thousand views, while banner ads alongside the videos can run $5 to $15 per thousand views.’ Meanwhile, some Web stars continue to cross over, as is the case with Fred, a YouTube sensation from the mind of Lucas Cruikshank, a kid from Nebraska who is now doing a movie with Viacom Inc.’s Nickelodeon, according to Peter Kafka at the Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital blog. Guess I need to start putting some video in the Morning Fix.

Take notes. Broadcasting & Cable writer Melissa Grego offers up tips to ABC’s new entertainment chief Paul Lee, who replaced Steve McPherson a couple weeks ago. Among the suggestions: Forget about the brand, build the shows and the brand will follow, and try not to be held hostage to the broadcast calender of development. Here’s my own: Be nice to everyone. You never know when that underling will become your boss -- or worse (i.e., taking notes, pictures or saving e-mails!).

Stick to your day job. Keith Olbermann, the MSNBC personality who has been doing double-duty as one of the members of NBC’s ‘Sunday Night Football in America’ team, apparently will not be ready for some football this season. The New York Post, which loves to poke at Olbermann, reports that MSNBC was against Olbermann doing football because the prep time took away from his work on his own nightly rants.


Inside the Los Angeles Times: An appreciation of Patricia Neal, the Oscar-winning actress who died at 84.

-- Joe Flint

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